- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland House of Delegates leaders are opening the gay marriage debate with a warning: any changes could kill the measure this year.

The full House is scheduled to begin debating the proposal to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples Wednesday morning.

House Speaker Michael Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, has warned lawmakers that if they change the bill which was already approved by the Senate, it will die. Senate leaders have said they do not have the time or support to approve any changes to the gay marriage bill they passed two weeks ago.

House supporters say they are a few votes shy of the 71 they need to send it to Gov. Martin O’Malley, Democrat. The governor has said he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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